Japan's PM snubs son of British POW

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Japan's prime minister, Taro Aso, faced fresh demands that he apologise to former prisoners of war after he cancelled a meeting with the son of a Royal Navy stoker used as a slave labourer in his family's coal mines.

James McAnulty, from Wishaw in Lanarkshire, had been told that he would be able to meet Taro Aso and make his request for an apology and compensation for his father's suffering during the Second World War. But after he travelled to Japan the prime minister's office cancelled the meeting.

Until January of this year, Mr Aso had steadfastly refused to confirm that his company had employed slave labourers during the war. New evidence unearthed by opposition politicians in the archives of the Health and Welfare Ministry proved that 101 British, 197 Australian and two Dutch prisoners were held at the coal mine, along with several thousand Korean forced labourers.

Historians say the mines were notorious for their brutal treatment of prisoners.

A company spokesman, Yasuyuki Moriyama, told the two men that no records exist of POWs being used as forced labourers, a contradiction of the prime minister's statement earlier in the year.

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